PICTURED: Vice President Mike Pence, President Juan Guaido of Venezuela, and President Iván Duque Márquez of Colombia, Monday February 25, 2019.
Caracas, Venezuela. September 6th, 2019. Prosecutors in the Venezuelan government said on Friday they plan to charge opposition leader Juan Guiado who in late April attempted what many experts say was coup, with high treason after acquiring audio evidence that suggests a conspiracy with Exxon Mobil and the United States.
Though Guiado is recognized by over 50 nations including the United States as the legitimate President of Venezuela, an examination of the 2018 presidential elections by over 100 international election observers concluded that there was nothing corrupt or illegitimate about the triumph of Chavez’s chosen successor Nicolas Maduro, as he carried a large majority of the vote.
The charges of high treason involve Guiado negotiating on behalf of the government of Venezuela over a region that shares a border with Guyana, called Esequibo.
Allegedly, Guiado said he would renounce the Venezuelan claim to the Esequibo region – a 61,000 square mile area that’s been subject to an intense border dispute for some time.
The audio recordings are said to have captured an instance when U.S. officials begin urging Guiado to turn over claim to Esequibo to multinational corporations like Exxon Mobil.
The Company one Keeps
Why would the region be of interest to the likes of Exxon Mobil? A significant oil discovery there in 2015 by Exxon led Guyana to further assert her claim to the region which in turn angered Venezuela who thusly reciprocated.
Exxon had an exploration deal in the disputed region at the time that caused even greater tensions with Guyana’s much larger southern neighbor.
State prosecutors successfully petitioned the country’s all-powerful Constituent Assembly to lift Guaido’s parliamentary immunity in April. He already faces several other charges, including one of “usurping the functions of the president”.
However the United States have threatened repercussions should any attempt to aggress upon Guiado’s person be carried out. It’s not clear what” “repercussions” would involve; the country has already been subject to a full embargo by the United States which the U.S. Navy has announced they would enforce if need be.
Whether the alleged audio recordings can build a successful case or not, this isn’t the first time Guiado has been implicated in corruption scandals with the American elite. According to an explosive report by Dan Cohen writing for The Gray Zone, Guiado and his coup appointees embelzed hundreds of thousands in humanitarian aid money and spent it on luxury goods and hotels.
Carlos Vecchio, the Venezuelan opposition party ambassador to the United States and former Exxon Mobil legal soldier, has been working closely with Guiado and his National Assembly to oust the Maduro government loyal to Hugo Chavez and Chavizmo political thought since he went into exile in 2014.
Maduro’s predecessor, Chavez, socialized the Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA, a move that chased Exxon Mobil out of the country and which Vecchio and Exxon have for years sought to undue. Merely 48 hours after the coup attempt, Guiado announced plans to privatize PDVSA and open Venezuela’s oil sector up to foreign investment.
If Guiado was recorded talking to Exxon about the Esequibo region, it would certainly not be unusual considering the panoply of petro-relations he keeps, but it certainly raises questions about his motives for the oil-rich region and the oil-rich country.